Action after death of swimmer

Woman dies in sea at Winterton-on-SeaWARNING signs will be brought back on Winterton beach after the death of a swimmer.

And it’s likely the Coast Watch station will return, this time mounted on a trailer and sited on land just north of the fishermen’s sheds.

The woman, who was in her 60s, was recovered from the water on July 24 after a two-hour land and sea search involving Hemsby, Caister, Sea Palling and Gorleston lifeboats and a Coastguard helicopter.

At last week’s full parish council meeting borough councillor James Bensly said it had been an unprecedented weekend. The crews were called out to two young girls drifting out to sea on an inflatable and a missing man on the same day.

He said the borough was exploring the possibility of putting up signs similar to the warnings that used to be over Beach Road and on the beach itself. He was offering his ward budget so the money would be there. The council was also looking at installing a windsock.

“This is all going to be happening as soon as the Coast Watch station is down.” He explained he had been pushing the council to allow it to be installed as soon as possible and for a retrospective planning application to follow.

A site had been found and the landowner was supportive. “It is just a matter of crossing the Ts and making sure what we put down there is correct."

Deputy chairman Nigel Coe asked if advice could be put in all of the holiday homes and Cllr Marina Carr said the same thing could happen again before the measures were up and running, so social media and leaflets would be important.

“We don’t want to scare people from coming here but we have to ensure they realise how dangerous the environment can be.” Cllr Bensly said the borough had posters and content for World Drowning Prevention Day, which this year fell on July 25.

Anne Child asked if warning signs could be installed at other entrances to the beach as well as the Beach Road access. “We used to have lifeguards on the beach and a first aid station. We’ve lost all of those,” she said, recognising lifeguards couldn’t cover all the beach. “We have them at Hemsby and Sea Palling. Why don’t we have them here?”

Cllr Bensly told her: “If we can get the signs up I’m looking at Winterton Ness, the car park, the cable sign, Bush Road steps, James Gray Close.”

And he said he would ask the Hemsby lifeboat crew to run a session at Winterton giving water safety advice.

After the death Caister Lifeboat posted on social media that strong offshore winds and fast moving tides on the first weekend of the school summer holidays had been exceptionally busy. 

The inshore boat had already rescued two 13-year-old girls who were drifting out to sea on an inflatable dingy off Scratby. Crews had also searched for a missing man off Yarmouth, but nothing was found.

“As well as doing their best in our last rescue that day, they know that they have helped a grieving family by finding her, granting them some peace and closure.”

Hemsby lifeboat posted: “Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends of this lady; this is not the outcome any of those involved in the search would have wanted, but everything that could be done was done. Thank you to Sea Palling, Gorleston and Caister and thanks also to the Coastguard teams, police and air ambulance for their efforts.”